Iraqi PM pledges to provide jobs, basic services amid protests across provinces

Source: Xinhua| 2018-07-14 03:31:12|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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BAGHDAD, July 13 (Xinhua) -- Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on Friday pledged to meet the demands of protesters in the southern oil hub of Basra for jobs and basic services.

"We will pay the necessary funds for Basra, which needs services and reconstruction," Abadi told tribal leaders and dignitaries after his meeting with local officials in Basra, some 550 km south of the capital Baghdad.

"We are now moving from a state of war to peace after the Islamic State (IS) group threatened our existence four years ago, and we have liberated our land six months ago," Abadi said.

Iraq is now confronted with the remnants of IS militants, and will uproot its ideology whether inside or outside Iraq, he said.

Abadi's visit to Basra came days after protests by hundreds of people in the region, including storming the oil fields of West Qurna-1 and West Qurna-2 in the north of Basra city.

The protests turned violent on Thursday at the entrance of the West Qurna-2 oil field as some protesters shoved the armed guards. A guard opened fire, wounding two protesters.

On July 8, a protester was killed and three others wounded when local police opened fire at a crowd of demonstrators against rising unemployment at an entrance of an oil field in West Qurna-2, some 80 km north of Basra.

Also on Friday, dozens of demonstrators took to the streets in the holy Shiite provinces of Najaf and Karbala, as well as the provinces of Babil, Muthanna, Dhi Qar and Maysan, in protest of the failure of the Iraqi government to solve unemployment and bring back the public services since 2003.